Staff Reporter

Upgradation for coir industry

KOCHI: The Union Budget has not given adequate consideration to check the price rise except the proposal for exempting essential commodities from futures trade, E.S. Jose, president, Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has said.

The hike in Central excise exemption for small-scale industries from Rs.1 crore to Rs.1.5 crore is a welcome step. Similarly, the concession in Central Excise and Customs duties will be helpful to the domestic trade.

The concession given to plywood, tea, coffee, coir and food products will be helpful to the respective sectors. The reduction in Customs Duty for edible oil will adversely affect the economy of Kerala. The subsidies announced for fertilizers will be helpful for FACT. The budget has not provided enough importance to tourism and infrastructure development, he said.

K. Retnan, president, Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said the special thrust given to the agriculture sector coupled with the emphasis on rural development would provide relief to the vital segment of the economy, besides generating more employment opportunities.

He hoped that adequate funds would be available for the speedy completion of important projects in Kerala such as the Kochi-Madurai bypass.

He welcomed the proposed scheme for modernisation and technology upgradation of the coir industry, but added that the budget allocation of Rs.22.50 crore needed to be enhanced to have the desired result. Financial mechanism to rejuvenate tea, coffee, rubber, spices, cashew and coconut would be of particular benefit to Kerala, provided there was a realistic allocation. The proposal to bring down the price of cement, petrol and diesel would give a fillip to construction activities, he said.